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Thomas Greatorex

Thomas Greatorex, organist of Westminster Abbey from 1819-1831, is buried in the west cloister of the Abbey. The inscription on his gravestone reads:

Thomas Greatorex F.R.S. F.L.S. Organist of this Collegiate Church. Born October 5 1758. Died July 17 1831

He was born at North Wingfield in Derbyshire, a son of Anthony (d.1814) and his wife Ann. His sister Martha was also an organist. Thomas studied music under Dr Benjamin Cooke, Abbey organist, and later was the Earl of Sandwich's musical director. He sang in the Concerts of Ancient Music, set up in 1776, and was later conductor. After serving as organist at Carlisle cathedral for a few years he took up teaching and was appointed organist at the Abbey in 1819. He married Elizabeth and their children were William-Anthony, Thomas, James, Henry-Wellington (who married Irish born artist Eliza Pratt), Arthur, Edward and Annie-Martha.

As well as being a masterly organist, conductor and teacher he also had a great interest in science and discovered a new method of measuring the altitude of mountains and he became a Fellow of the Royal Society. He caught a cold while fishing which caused his death and he is buried near his old teacher Dr Cooke.

Further reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

Born

5th October 1758

Died

17th July 1831

Occupation

Musician; composer

Location

Cloisters; West Cloister

Memorial Type

Grave

Thomas Greatorex
Thomas Greatorex

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Thomas Greatorex
Thomas Greatorex grave

This image can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library

Image © 2020 Dean and Chapter of Westminster

Related commemorations

You are surrounded by history at the Abbey, not like a museum where it’s just displayed, but here you are standing where history has happened.

Gerlinde - Abbey Marshal

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